Trip to Catania and Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy (Click on any image to load a larger copy)
After a two hour bus ride through the Sicilian countryside from Agrigento (See Trip to Agrigento and Porto Empedocle - Vigàta, Sicily, Italy), I arrive in the second largest city of Sicily - Catania. I made my way from the bus terminal to the train station and caught subway and went to the Borgo stop where I found my hotel, the Hotel La Vecchi Palma.
After checking in, I headed off to the Museo Storica Sbarco in Sicilia - 1943 (The Historical Museum of the Military Landing in Sicily - 1943). This museum is about Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily in July and August 1943 headed by Generals Bernard Montgomery and George Patton. (no relation to me). The operation was highly successful for the Allies and led to a coup which overthrow Mussolini & the eventual surrender of Italy. I found the museum to be very interesting as it had artifacts about the life of the inhabitants of Sicily and well as those of the soldiers that invaded it. One of the more interesting features was a model of the island of Sicily that a movie was projected on showing the placement of military units and advancement of those units in battle.
I was met the next mourning by a driver/guide who would drive me up to Mount Etna. The journey to Mount Etna was half the fun as the driver was a stereotypical Italian male driver - a person who drives too fast, is too aggressive, is impatient with other drivers, and uses the car horn all the time. Based on his driving I think I figured out the rules of the car horn in Italy: 1) Honk the horn if another driver cuts you of or otherwise bothers you, 2) Use the horn to get the attention of an attractive member of the opposite sex, one of your friends, etc., and 3) If you have not used the horn in the past few minutes to make sure it still works (if you do not press the horn every few minutes, it loses its magic and will no longer work so it seems). Also of interest in the drive was the drivers use of a hands-free device for his cell phone. It did not work well as he used his hands to gesture during the conversation and therefor was drive at best with one hand.
Mount Etna was an interesting place to visit. I could see the differences between different eruptions, by the change in color and shape of the lava and ash. Also I could see where life was flourishing, where it had been, and where it was restarting by the different plants the grow in the ash. The highlights of the trip were walking around one of the extinct craters and seeing a two story house that had been destroyed in a recent eruption.
I returned to Catania and spent the afternoon exploring the city center. One of the interesting aspect of the city are its building made of stone from Mount Etna. As the stone is volcanic (and therefore black in color), the city's buildings are quite unique looking. The city hall for example has an interesting contrast from its black walls to its white marble accents. After exploring the city, I need a snack and lucky for me I found a bakery that had Sicilian Cannoli. These are very tasty and as I had walked a lot that day, probably not too bad for me.
I spent the next day in Taormina (see Trip to Taormina, Sicily, Italy) and then flew to Naples (see Trip to Naples and Herculaneum, Italy) on one of Italy's low-cost carries, AlpiEagles. The flight to Naples from Catania was listed on AlpiEagles's website for 9 EUR / 11 USD and after taxes & fees, cost me 55 EUR / 67 USD. Not bad for a one hour flight that save me from taking a 7 hour train ride (The train would have cost me 38 EUR / 46 USD).
I used a Olympus C-750UZ 4.0 Megapixel Digital Camera. The images were cleaned up a bit with Adobe PhotoShop Elements (To correct the color balance). Additional Camera Information
|Last Updated on January 2, 2009||Images and Text © 2005 Andrew Patton - Copyright Information|